Research groups

The Society’s research activities

Researching the rich history of St Albans and its environs is a popular activity among Society members. By transcribing, collating and publishing important primary sources, they also create a resource of enduring value for other researchers and historians.

Research project groups

Property Research Group

A Property Research Group was formed in the 1990s and produced a series of databases on which information is recorded concerning architecture and occupancies of plots in St Peters parish in the Borough over time. Much information was gathered for the nineteenth century and earlier which is available to researchers.

Individual projects using the databases and other information which has been gathered and recorded elsewhere have resulted in papers on Bowgate & its Inns, Snatchup Alley, Building and Destruction of Adelaide Street, Almshouses & Early Vernacular Housing in St Peter’s Street, and others.

17th Century Research Group

This group, formed in the early 1990s, has already completed a number of research projects related to the urban history of St Albans between 1650 and 1700. 

The team is preparing for the publication of the second volume of St Albans Wills, Inventories and Probate Accounts. This covers the years 1616 to 1629.  Committee.

First World War Home Front Research Group

Starting in February 2013, the twenty-one members of this group focuses on the effect of the First World War on the social and economic development of St Albans. You can read more about their work by following the link below.

St Julian’s estate – from leper hospital to housing estate

We are a small group of members with differing but particular interests in the old St Julian’s estate.

The St Julian’s estate was centred on Watling Street, almost opposite St Bartholomew’s Church in St Stephens parish. At around 400 acres, it stretched down to the Abbey station on the one side and as far as Greenwood Park in Chiswell Green on the other. Originally a leper hospital attached to the abbey, it became a gentleman’s estate with a magnificent mansion house. Later it reverted to the status of a tenant farm for a wealthy family based at the Frythe in Welwyn.

The Group is still collecting data about the estate and the surrounding parish of St Stephen’s and has already provided articles and talks about various aspects of the area to local groups. We are working towards two possible books – one on the estate in its heyday with mansion and home farm and with gentle folk as owners or tenants and the other on its existence as a tenanted farm in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Other articles for more learned journals or websites are also planned. A recent development has been contact with a researcher into the life and antiquarian collections of Charles Willes Wilshere who inherited the farm in the late 1800s and gave land for a school for the parish on Watford Road and invested in buildings on the estate. This provides a dimension we had not hitherto expected.

Input from other members with appropriate skills or interest is most welcome. Local knowledge and skills in transcription, research and writing up are particularly needed. Contact Kate Morris on if interested.